Results of an examination of exercise and body weight, called the Midwest Exercise Trial 2, has shown that people who exercise before noon seem to lose more weight than people who complete the exact same workout later in the day.
During the study, about 100 overweight young men and women worked out five times a week at a physiology lab and would partake in jogging or another exercise to make them sweat. Each person would work out until they had burned about 600 calories, The New York Times reports. After 10 months, almost everyone in the trial had lost weight, but those numbers varied wildly.
A closer examination of participant weight loss showed that their exercise schedules made a difference in the amount of weight lost. The study's participants worked out any time between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and on average, the people who worked out before noon had lost more weight than others who hit the gym after 3 p.m.
But researchers also saw some other differences between people that exercise in the morning vs later in the day. Early exercisers tend to be more active throughout the rest of the day, and they ate a bit less than their counterparts (although the study notes that the food difference was only about 100 calories).
And while the link between activity timing and weight loss may just be coincidental, Erik Willis, a data analyst with the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, believes that there may be a statistical association between the two. But as with most studies, there is more research needed before a strong claim can definitively be made.
But Ellis also wants to reiterate that exercising at any time is beneficial for your health. "I would not want anyone to think that it’s not worth exercising if you can’t do it first thing in the morning," he said. "Any exercise, at any time of day, is going to be better than none."
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US.